Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader Goes Latin

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A 1959 session (with a mildly offensive stereotypical cover featuring a drawing of the vibraphonist on top of a donkey and wearing an enormous sombrero) that also features percussionist Mongo Santamaria and piano player Vince Guaraldi, Cal Tjader Goes Latin is not the full-speed-ahead immersion into Latin music that Tjader would make later in his career, but a rather typical West Coast cool jazz session with occasional Latin influences. In fact, the highlights of the album are the four ballads that showcase Guaraldi's distinctive piano style and the light tone of tenor saxophonist Jose Silva: Harold Arlen's "Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe," "Out of Nowhere," "Close Your Eyes," and the bolero-like "Contigo." Of the more uptempo numbers, the twin highlights are the two Santamaria-penned tunes that bookend the album, "Mi China" and the exciting "Cuajira at the Blackhawk."